You have been willing to start on your own for a long time. One beautiful morning you decided to have your setup. You had your website, but little did you know about the security requirements for your website. Moreover, did you know that inadequate security measures on your website could lead to the site being penalized by search engines?
While the parameters that are considered by search engines for ranking any website is a secret maintained by search engine marketing companies, it is known that the search engines consider website security as a critical factor in ranking a site.
Now, search engines need to consider user experience, and website security matters a lot to them. Search engines need to provide a safe browsing experience for the visitors and cannot jeopardize the visitors by allowing them to visit websites that are unsafe from viruses and malware. In fact, in 2018, Google came up with an update that mentioned non-HTTPS sites as "Not Secure" on Google Chrome.
How do We Tackle this Scenario?
You need to install SSL certificate on the server that provides a unique identity to your bsuienss.The certificates also ensure that information about the visitor is transferred only to the secure site and not anywhere else. Trustedcertificateauthorities provide the certificates after proper background checking of the owner of the website, the organization, and the domain name.
After installation, a padlock gets activated. What happens is that it confirms the identity of your web site and provides a secure link to exchange data. The communication that takes between the web server and the browser of the visitor is encrypted and cannot be deciphered by any third party. The data is only accessible to the desired receiver and not any other entity.
Is HTTPS a Ranking Factor?
While Google rarely mentions its ranking parameters, it had gone public with the announcement that it was indeed making HTTPS a priority in its search criteria. Google started giving preference to websites that followed the HTTPS protocol. While it would be difficult to foretell whether having a non-HTTPS site let to your sudden fall in ranking, there are quite a few case studies to suggest that the sites with HTTPS were better off. One of them – Cloudtech had an increased number of the first-page ranking after switching to HTTPS. So, it is better to install SSL certificate to improve your search ranking.
So, does it affect the number of visitors to your site? Yes, it does. Because Google puts up a note on the address bar stating that your website is insecure, visitors are also aware of this and stay away from such sites. Imagine a visitor willing to buy his favorite item from your website only to find it insecure. Apart from a lost customer, bad word of mouth may keep other potential customers away from your site. Again, if many visitors are bouncing off only because of security issues, Google takes note of it also and might issue a penalty.
Various Limitations for an HTTP Website:
Online ads have been a sure-shot path to success for most websites. However, way back in 2017, Google Adwords had some marketers in trouble. It did not approve of some of the ads that linked to a non-HTTPS website. Given that Google always preferred to provide a safe surfing environment for internet users, it was only bound to happen. Later, Google also started pushing all links directed to the HTTP website to HTTPS. It became necessary for companies to have an HTTPS website.
It also becomes difficult when you try to analyze user behavior on your site. Google will withhold some of the data if you have a non-HTTPS website. If there is a large amount of traffic from a source, the source may end up as a direct source on Google Analytics. However, if you have an HTTPS website, you will be able to segregate users correctly based on the origin of traffic and take necessary action. Another reason to Install SSL Certificate!
Effect on your Social Media Presence:
The social media pages are where you interact with your target market and share information. The impact of having a non-secure website on social media pages is unverifiable. The subscribers to your social media pages are unaware of the security features on your website until they click onto the link provided on the social media pages. On visiting your site, the visitors will be able to decide whether to continue to be on your site. An increased number of deserters from your website will only jack up the bounce rate. It may lead to your website falling in the search rankings.
Search engines like Google prefer to provide their visitors with a safe and secure browsing environment. Towards this end, they have started penalizing websites that are still not on HTTPS. Very few visitors will visit your site if the search engines mark it as insecure. Moreover, the PCI DSS recommendations will require you to install SSL certificate mandatorily before you can commerce online transactions on your site. So, it is in your interest to buy an SSL certificate from any of the authorized Certifying Authorities. There are many SSL Certificates available online at budget rates.